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Biagini runs into trouble against Pirates

Carrera released; Pearce goes through running exercises
MLB.com @gregorMLB

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini was hit hard early and often in a 5-0 loss to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Dunedin Stadium.

Biagini was tentatively scheduled for at least four innings of work, but instead did not make it out of the second. He allowed five runs on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out two over 1 2/3 innings en route to his second loss of the spring.

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander Joe Biagini was hit hard early and often in a 5-0 loss to the Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Dunedin Stadium.

Biagini was tentatively scheduled for at least four innings of work, but instead did not make it out of the second. He allowed five runs on four hits and a pair of walks while striking out two over 1 2/3 innings en route to his second loss of the spring.

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The 27-year-old faced five batters in the first inning and allowed one run. A much bigger problem surfaced in the 31-pitch second when Biagini served up home runs to Adam Frazier and Gregory Polanco. He was pulled from the game after throwing 48 pitches.

"I obviously would have preferred that to go a little better," Biagini said. "Just finding that rhythm I think is the biggest challenge for me. Coming into Spring Training, knowing that I'm going to be starting, at least for the spring, and whatever the indefinite future, it's definitely a new thing for me. Which is fun, it's a good challenge. ... I think it's a great learning process for me."

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Biagini's role for the start of the season remains uncertain. If Marcus Stroman requires a brief stint on the disabled list because of a shoulder injury, then Biagini will open the year in Toronto's rotation. If Stroman is ready, there's a pretty strong chance Biagini will be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

The goal this spring was to get Biagini more comfortable in a starting role. He bounced between the bullpen and rotation last season and has not started full time since 2015. Toronto has been hoping that a more set routine would allow Biagini to find more consistency in his mechanics, but it's still a work in progress.

"There are certain things you do in spring that you normally wouldn't take into the season with you, but I also want to see the results of some of these things," Biagini said. "Like how I'm adjusting the arm action on my changeup. How I'm trying to be more consistent with the height of my fastball. Little things here and there that you want to try to adjust to see how they come out. A couple of those things today, I didn't feel like were exactly what I wanted to see."

Carrera departs
Ezequiel Carrera's three-year tenure with the Blue Jays officially came to an end after he was released Sunday morning. Carrera was designated for assignment earlier this spring and later outrighted off the 40-man roster. The 30-year-old returned to Spring Training a couple of days later as a non-roster invitee but will now seek opportunities elsewhere.

The Blue Jays saved themselves a bit of money in the process. By releasing Carrera now, Toronto is only on the hook for one-sixth of the $1.9 million deal he signed during the offseason to avoid arbitration. The move hardly comes as a surprise, especially considering Carrera didn't even have a place to start in the Minors with Anthony Alford, Teoscar Hernandez, Dalton Pompey and Dwight Smith Jr. all candidates for Triple-A Buffalo's outfield.

"Zee's done a tremendous job for us the last few years," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's one of the good guys."

Injury update
• Left fielder Steve Pearce went through running exercises on Sunday morning and is expected to repeat that process again on Monday. Pearce has not played since March 4 because of a mild strain in his left calf, but the Blue Jays hope he will get into a game by Thursday.

• Pompey was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup because of soreness in his right wrist. Pompey initially was scheduled to start in right field but instead was replaced by Roemon Fields. Pompey is considered day to day.

Video: Blue Jays add bullpen depth with Seung Hwan Oh

Oh still waiting on work visa
The Blue Jays still aren't sure when Seung Hwan Oh will be able to appear in an official Spring Training game. Oh, of South Korea, is waiting for his visa to be approved by the United States government before he can take the mound in a Grapefruit League game. Oh has been throwing bullpens and live batting practice sessions in camp with the Blue Jays but will have to wait at least a couple of more days before taking the next step.

Roster paring continues
Toronto made its second round of cuts on Sunday morning by optioning prospects Ryan Borucki and Thomas Pannone to the Minor Leagues. The cuts come one day after Jordan Romano, Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris were sent to the Minors as well. The Blue Jays have 55 players remaining in big league camp. That includes 29 pitchers, five catchers, 10 infielders and 11 outfielders.

Up next
Left-hander J.A. Happ will take the mound when the Blue Jays host the Red Sox with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET Monday at Dunedin Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Gameday Audio. Closer Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Aaron Loup and Tyler Clippard are also scheduled to pitch while most of the regulars are expected to be in the lineup.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Joe Biagini